SMART GOVERNMENT

FIVE DRAFT PROPOSALS
PRINCIPLE

1

California government must be aligned to a clear, unified vision, and restructured to focus decision-making on improving performance, with a renewed emphasis on the clients of public programs. The new structure must systematically encourage decision-makers to change policies, budgets, personnel, and practices to improve results – and the public knowledge of these results is essential to restore accountability to the people.

DRAFT PROPOSAL

1– FOCUS ON OUTCOMES

Aligning program outcomes with larger statewide goals should follow a standard cascading format – similar to those already used in other states – of overarching outcomes, targeted indicators, and ongoing performance measures. Putting this into practice will involve four major steps: 1. Stakeholders: A widespread stakeholder process involving both state agencies and local governments will be necessary to establish desired program outcomes. This process could include the development of a menu of tangible goals within each outcome (e.g. ―All 3rd-graders should be able to read at a 3rd-grade level‖ or ―The state’s dropout rate should be cut in half‖) that communities can choose from. 2. Strategy: Community stakeholders should be responsible for drafting strategic plans that set local goals, define community strategies, and identify the right partnerships to get the job done. These local strategic plans should include a 4-year implementation timeline to allow for enough time to restructure administrative functions, integrate programs, and enhance the system based on actual practice. These plans should also include sustainability protections, so they can be implemented through multiple administrations. 3. Transparency and Accountability for results: As local governments begin to carry out their strategies, local leaders should conduct regular, structured meetings to review and evaluate program performance against these targets. 4. Flexibility: The state, meanwhile, should allow local agencies flexibility in how those outcomes are achieved so the development of collaborative services can build on different communities’ strengths. (See Proposals 2 and 3.) Many states and local governments throughout California have adopted a standard format for refocusing programs on improving results. This includes gauging progress toward a set of overarching statewide Outcomes, targeted Indicators, and ongoing Performance Measures.

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Outcomes: The state’s long-term goals should be expressed in terms of desired outcomes, with particular emphasis on the Big Five Outcomes – Increased Employment, Improved Education, Decreased Poverty, Decreased Crime, and Improved Health. Investments by the state and local government should be evaluated against these outcomes. Indicators of Success: Indicators are the specific measure communities should use to evaluate the progress they are making toward the Big Five WHAT THIS MIGHT LOOK LIKE: Outcomes. EMPLOYMENT AS AN EXAMPLE At least three Indicators of Success in each of Outcome Increased Employment these outcome areas should be developed by local governments in consultation with the Indicator State Unemployment Rate state within the first year of implementation. The Indicators of Success should be in line Performance Number – Families Measures Participating in with state (and where appropriate, national) CalWORKs objectives and approved by legislators. Ratio – Case Cities, counties, schools, and special districts Manager/Participant should develop a multi-year strategy and an Number – annual action plan for achieving these CalWORKs Indicators of Success, relying where possible Participants Obtaining on proven and evidence-based practices. The Employment strategies should be presented and discussed in locally appropriate public venues. In many counties, Local Agency Formation Commissions (LAFCos) may be the appropriate venue for these presentations. (As described in Proposal 5, LAFCos should expand their existing role and begin collecting standardized data on the quantity, cost, and effectiveness of local governments. Schools should continue to present their performance data to the state – as they do today – but the state’s role should change as described in Proposal 3.) Performance Measures: Performance measures help provide context to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the services delivered. (―What does it cost to achieve this outcome?‖ ―What’s the trend in the service level?‖) Progress made by cities, counties, schools, and special districts toward achieving these indicators should be included in the LAFCo performance reviews. This county performance information should also be published as a report card on the state website and should be used to make programmatic and fiscal decisions at the state and county levels.
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POTENTIAL MODELS (see these and more online at CAFWD.org/bestpractices) State of Maryland StateStat: Modeled after the CitiStat performance-measurement and management tool that has been successfully implemented in Baltimore, StateStat uses a data-based management approach to make public programs more efficient and accountable by continually evaluating state performance. Key public safety, health, and social services agencies are already involved, from the Department of Juvenile Services to the Department of Housing and Community Development. NYCStat: NYCStat is New York City’s one-stop-shop for all essential data, reports, and statistics related to City services. NYCStat provides access to a wide array of performance-related information, including citywide and agency-specific information, 311-related data, and interactive mapping features for selecting performance data and quality-of-life indicators. Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services: Building off the nationally recognized STATS models in New York City and Maryland, the LA County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) adopted STATS in 2004 as a tool to manage its operations. After a four-month pilot, the nation’s largest administrator of federal welfare programs increased its results dramatically, with the percentage of district offices meeting targeted performance jumping by over 25 percent. As it continued to use STATS from 2004 to 2008, the department was able to improve outcomes across an array of metrics. Its food stamps error rate alone—which once had one of the highest rates in the country at over 20 percent—was brought down to less than 1 percent. This one case of improved performance helped the county avoid federal penalties of $143 million over the course of only two fiscal years. Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health: The LA County Department of Mental Health also launched a STATS effort in 2007 in order to address a range of management challenges, from a lack of clarity about DMH priorities among line managers to a set of inconsistent metrics by which executives were monitoring operations. After adopting a regular, structured meeting to review and evaluate program performance against targets, outcomes improved dramatically: Within two years, the timeliness of billing and collection improved, as did monitoring reductions in homelessness among clients receiving community-based services. DMH was also able to provide more timely access to outpatient care following psychiatric hospitalizations. Minnesota’s Drive to Excellence: The Drive to Excellence (2005-2010) was a stategovernment reform initiative that focused on serving citizens better. The overarching objective was to encourage government to act together as an enterprise, rather than independent agencies, on the issues they have in common. Drive to Excellence identified common processes across government that can be improved with common solutions, such as standardized computers or a universal system for managing the state’s buildings. Kentucky Open Door: In 2009, Kentucky launched Open Door, a user-friendly portal that enables citizens to access substantial and substantive financial data about their

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government, ranging from big-picture budget summaries to individual government contracts. Washington State Priorities of Government: This budget approach creates a strategic framework for public investment decisions, prioritizing activities that guide the governor’s budget proposal to the Legislature – and helping communicate that budget to the public. As part of the Priorities of Government plan, every agency in Washington has been asked to answer eight questions related to whether their activities are essential to state government and whether they are being delivered in the most costeffective manner. Virginia Performs: A performance leadership and accountability system within state government, Virginia Performs aligns specific state agency outcomes with larger statewide goals. Outlining a vision for Virginia’s future – including responsible economic growth, an enviable quality of life, good government, and a well-educated citizenry – the state has defined key metrics like obesity in adults, graduation rates, and acres of land preserved to gauge whether it is getting results on its highest priorities.

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